The generation gap is still an important topic of discussion in the workplace. With four generations currently in the workforce, many companies are talking about ways to encourage individuals with very different mindsets to work well together. It’s helpful to look at each cohort and then how you can tap into their similarities to manage your team better.
In 2018, it was estimated that 53% of baby boomers were working or looking for work. While many boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are retiring, many are still just as engaged in the workforce. The struggle for many boomers is their lack of early exposure to technology, which can be enhanced or exacerbated by working with younger generations, which we’ll discuss more below.
As teenagers, GenX was called the “Slacker Generation.” In their 40s and 50s, Generation X is a reasonably small cohort, but they make up 33% of the entire workforce. The most common trait is their self-reliance, which came about from being a generation of “latch-key” kids with two working parents. This sometimes results in difficultly with authority.
Like Boomers, the millennial generation is substantial and covers a considerable timeframe. Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials make up the largest segment of today’s workforce, surpassing boomers in 2016. Millennials were the first generation to be raised with technology. They also generally prefer to work collaboratively rather than competitively.
The youngest generation in the workforce today is Generation Z. Born between 1997 and 2012, the oldest are entering the workforce in their early 20s and beginning to rival millennials as the largest segment of the workforce today. They are also tech-savvy, but the essential aspect for many of them is diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
How to Bridge the Generation Gap
If you are looking to bridge the gap, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Provide multiple forms of communication
- Create a mentorship program
- Don’t segregate your workforce by age
- Show your appreciation for good work
Do You Want to Bridge The Generation Gap in Your Company?